newborn“Transition.” That’s what they call the most intense part of a woman’s labor to deliver her baby. During transition, the cervix finishes opening to 10cm, contractions come fast and hard, and many women become overwhelmed by the pain. Some vomit, some feel light-headed. Once through the transition, which may last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, it’s time to push. While that is painful too, it’s more satisfying because the end is in sight, and eventually you can see your baby’s head emerge.

You don’t have to deliver a baby to experience the labor of new life. Many families who adopt experience a unique kind of gestation and labor to bring their children into their homes. Dating and engagement leading up to a wedding are like birthing a new family.

Sometimes you don’t know what it is that you are birthing.

The first year after Elli died, we were numb and reeling. I clung to the few shreds of life that did not change during those disorienting months. The second year I hit bottom and spent the second half climbing out. This year, the third since she’s been gone, I’ve felt a shift. It’s been intense, like transition, but I haven’t quite known where it was headed.

In labor, when you reach that moment when you can see the baby, it feels like it’s all downhill from there.

I’m finally getting a peek at the newness being birthed, and it’s very exciting. More to come, once the baby is here, bathed, and swaddled.

(No, I’m not actually pregnant. This is an analogy.)

96. Watching my children play happily for an hour with cars and Barbies and no fighting

97.The way the sound of water relaxes me, even on the most stressful days

98. Candlelight

99. Fire in the fireplace on bitterly cold days

100. Coffee with a friend

101. Lunch and candid doesn’t-leave-this-room conversation with someone who gets me

102. Family swim night

103. Washing and conditioning my daughter’s beautiful hair

104. The way my son makes friends with anyone with a simple cheery “hi!”

105. My oldest son’s first sleep-over

106. Soaking up a rare winter sunbeam in our front window

107. Vitamins – they are slowly but surely helping me feel better

108. Fajita night

109. Fresh guacamole

110. The energy and inspiration of new projects

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